Survey finds falling support for EU framework deal

Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga, right, with EU Commission boss Ursula von der Leyen. Keystone / Alessandro Della Valle

Almost two-thirds of Swiss say relations with the European Union (EU) should be better developed, but only half reckon the current draft of an institutional framework agreement is the best way to do this.

This content was published on November 2, 2020 minutes

Compared to last year, the gap between aspiration and reality is growing, according to a European Barometer survey published on Monday by the Crédit Suisse bank.

On the one hand, stable relations with Europe are seen as important by 75% of respondents. Some 65% reckon ties should be further fostered, an increase of 13%. Only 12% say there should be less cooperation.

But support for the institutional framework agreement, an overarching treaty that would bring together the 120 bilateral deals that currently regulate relations between the two, is falling.

A small majority of 53% said they would support this framework deal, down 10% on last year. And 27% said that the deal should be renegotiated – that’s up 10% on last year.

“Overall, a majority is aware of this framework deal with the EU, but it hasn’t managed to boost its profile over the past year,” write the authors of the study, which was carried out by the gfs.bern polling institute.

A draft deal is currently all but ready after years of negotiations, but concerns in Switzerland about wage protection, state aid rules, and citizenship rights have delayed a final ratification.

The EU, which has been pushing hard for Bern to sign, eased off earlier this year in order to wait for the results of the Swiss vote in September about restricting immigration from Europe, which was rejected by 62% of voters.

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